I've been on a journey to rediscover what it is to be feminine. By that, I don't mean feeding gender stereotypes of growing my hair long, keeping a home, or silent submission; on the contrary, I am learning about the many undercurrents of power that frolic beneath my softness, a softness that has been so thirsty for expression in this hard, masculine world.
These past two months, I willingly allowed a tornado to sweep through my life and into my soul. To be perfectly honest, I invited it in. I'd been waiting for a long, long time, and even though hints of it had been knocking on my heart's door for years, it took the excavation during a highly confronting training I attended in August to unleash its magnitude, and immediacy. The universe gifted me a mirror, one that saw deep into my soul. Held in the purity of being seen allowed me to see me — the wild, multifaceted and powerfully feminine me whom my restless soul had been seeking all my life. It's wholly liberating, but it's a liberation that demands sacrifice.
Meditation teacher Sally Kempton wrote in her book Awakening Shakti: "The divine feminine knows that a birth sometimes demands a death, and that the personal self sometimes has to die if the world is to be made sacred." I could run and pretend this never happened (oh trust me, I considered this many times), but even though the idea of surrendering to the great unknown terrifies me, the thought of staying within the confines of safety scares me more. So here I am, eyes wide open and fully committed to leaping into the flames.
I'm deeply inspired by my friend Yoke, who recently wrote the gem of a book Lessons from the Himalayas. She shared: "Environment can support, or not support, the deep internal true work." I love the life I've built in Singapore, but I now recognise that it has shaped me in very energetically masculine ways — to be responsible, consistent, structured; in short, to do life instead of allowing life to be done. Living this way certainly pays off in many aspects (the bills, for one!), but it also ingrained in me the tendency to suppress the phases during which I feel fickle, in flux and, well, like a woman!
This is how I've found myself back again in the loving arms of Bali, where I'm writing to you from the terrace of the same guesthouse I've been returning to for years. (The picture at the top is my view everyday at dusk — lucky me.) I consciously decided to uproot myself for two weeks, stepping back from the routines I hold near and dear so as to make temporary home in a place where the divine feminine is honoured at every turn, and to slide into a way of living that is a lot more in sync with the shifting tides within me. I set aside my phone often, so I can spend uninterrupted mornings practising, languid afternoons writing, and my nights in quiet contemplation of the revelations that have since been spilling forth.
After years of flirting with the subject, I also finally dove into the study of Tantra, finding solace both in words that give form to deeply buried needs I haven't yet been able to express, as well as in a framework that allows me to navigate the murky path ahead with Grace. Grace reminds me of the narrow-mindedness of my personal agenda, and invites me to live in the innate trust that everything will unfold exactly as it's meant to. When I let go, I was shown the way — that of the divine feminine, where true power lies at the heart of softness, and everyday pleasures are the doorway into the divine.
Mama Bali seems to agree, and my influx of insights quickly found resonance in the words of the teacher who led the morning practice this recent Monday. "Yoga, to me, is intimacy — into me I see," he said. How true. When I see into me, this ever-changing me, everything changes. Familiar asanas take on new textures, every breath feels like a sensual dance, and even the simplest stretch feels like a sacred lovemaking with all the cells in my body, which quiver alive in response. Moments off the mat feel equally raw and real, as my eyes are opened to every speck of beauty around me, even in spaces I would previously reject and turn away from.
This is the way of the divine feminine.
Sally Kempton once again eloquently explains: It is a deep and fearless self-exploration, a commitment to looking beyond our conditioned assumptions about masculine and feminine. It can be nurturing, but also appropriately ruthless and chaotic. It wants to embrace everything that is beautiful, as well as everything that is terrifying.
It may be a time of intense emotional upheaval, but I have never felt more deeply at peace, both here in the now, and in the not knowing. What I do know is that I am held and supported — by Bali, by my tribe, and by the blood wisdom that runs in me.
At the end of that Monday practice, the teacher invited us to speak to our hearts. My words rang loud and clear: "I see you. I love you. I desire you. I cherish you."
Whether you're male or female, I invite you to walk this path with me. May you too be reminded of the Grace in letting go, and the power in your softness.
With all my love,